Saving Lives, Saving Livelihoods – Best Practices of Gumaca in Economic Recovery Amidst Pandemic.

Gumaca is a first class municipality in the province of Quezon. The municipality is known for their specialties such as atsara, tamales, tikoy, and banana chips. Gumaca can rightly claim as the financial, commercial, and religious center of Southern Quezon. It is host to 4 commercial banks, 2 thrift banks, 23 financing entities/pawnshops, and manufacturing warehouses of known manufacturing companies. Aside from those commercial establishments, people of Gumaca live by farming and fishing, however, due to the pandemic, the people’s livelihood have been affected, thus economic recovery became one of the focuses of their LGUs Covid-19 programs. 

Gumaca, Quezon  is one of the LGU graduates of Jesse Robredo Institute for Leadership and Good Governance pioneer course’ Building Pandemic-Resilient Communities through Public Health Governance. The municipality is under the notable leadership of Hon. Webster D. Letargo.

Like what mentioned, economic recovery is one of the focuses of LGU Gumaca’s Covid-19 initiatives and programs. The LGU provides programs giving income to displaced workers, sustainable livelihood, and support to locals affected by the lockdown. One of them is the employment of 388 Health Warriors who were assigned in checkpoints, public areas, and major thoroughfares. The LGU have also  their own Production of Personal Protective Equipment (over-alls, face masks, gloves and foot wear) from women organizations such as Kalipunan ng Liping Pilipina – Gumaca and 4K – Kababaihan Kabalikat Para sa Kapakanan at Kaunlaran ng Bayan. More than 800 PPE’s were made and distributed to frontliners from hospitals, health facilities, and Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT). 

According to LGU Gumaca, their crisis management was obtained from experts and scientific basis. The formulation of their Municipal Task Group for COVID-19 consisted  of clusters representing Health, Governance, Law and Order, Economic, Food and Non-Food Items, Logistics, Management of Human Remains, and the Crisis Communication. The activation of these clusters made planning and coordination easier. Meetings are called for every time there is a new case or if there are new guidelines or circulars issued. Most importantly, establishing co-ownership with stakeholders or developing shared responsibility among the constituents have paved the way for the fulfillment of the LGU COVID-19 programs and initiatives.

The LGU also shared that while people are resilient in the face of economic hardship and uncertainty, they still demand much from the LGU to provide for their needs. Aside from that, discrimination of frontliners, extensive disinformation, and politicking have caused confusion to the real essence of Bayanihan.

As one of the LGU graduates of JRILGG Public Health Governance course, Hon. Letargo stressed that good governance is significant in a pandemic response because leadership should be felt especially during a crisis, for a true leader should know where the action is. The LGU Gumaca has established participative, transparent, and accountable governance since the start of the implementation of the community quarantine. This approach is essential in managing and allocating the funds/resources appropriately and effectively promoting pro-active leadership among the stakeholders. People will feel the sincerity if they know that you also feel what they are going through.

To know more about LGU Gumaca Covid-19 initiatives and programs, you may refer to this link: bit.ly/WeLoveGumaca

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